The Canon G7

I have been looking for a camera to replace my aging Canon S300. I want to get into shooting some video for a podcast and I also need a still camera with good macro performance. Canon has the TX1 available now and it would seem like the perfect choice on paper but there are problems. The TX1 is a first gen product, the battery life is half that of the G7, the zoom range doesn’t go as wide as the G7 and its currently more expensive. The HD movies and big optical zoom were tempting but ultimately I don’t see those features being advantageous for web video. Most zoom shots look amateurish and HD burns a lot of bandwidth.

The G7 has a very respectable movie mode. It shoots Motion JPEG AVI video at 640×480 @ 30fps. It can shoot continuously at that rate for 30 minutes. Thats long enough to cover most things that I want to film. The files it produces are big, 4GB at that rate but thats actually a plus for web video. Having a high fidelity progressive scan source to compress will result in a really high quality podcast. Mini DV camcorders shoot interlaced video and to get progressive output you need to spend upwards of 1K. Also the G7 has a poorly named ‘safety zoom’ feature which is actually quite cool. The digital zoom can actually be used at lower resolutions without any quality loss. This means the 4x digital zoom should actually be quite useful in movie mode. Edit: Well it’s not that cool because it doesn’t work in for Movies.
The older canon cameras have a 1GB limit on videos while the newer models with the Digic III processor have raised that limit to 4GB. 1GB gets you about 8 minutes of footage at high quality. I really felt this would get annoying. Having to constantly go and restart the movie mode to keep the film rolling so to speak. I didn’t want to be limited in that way even if the video gets cut down in post production. So I ruled out quite a few very good cameras because of the short movies. With an 8GB card on board the new cameras can shoot for an hour with only a single interruption. Thats great for on location work. In my workshop I’ll have it plugged into the mains so I can shoot pretty much continuously.

You can also tether the camera to a PC and Canon’s software will allow you to capture still shots directly to the PC. It can be set up to shoot at an interval to produce time lapse sequences. I’m defiantly going to be playing with that feature!
The G7 got criticized by reviewers for its lack of RAW support and the high price tag. If I didn’t value the video capabilities of the camera quite so highly I would have to agree. If you just want a solid still camera get the A640 instead and save some cash. For my needs though, I’m getting two cameras in one. In the future I may get a dedicated video camera and at that point I’ll still have a great, compact still camera in the G7.

I cant claim that my decision was entirely driven by reviews and spec sheets. I really like the look of the camera. Its hefty and really solidly built. It reminds me of the old film camera my father has with all the external dials. I just kept coming back to it and drooling.



5 Responses to “The Canon G7”

  1. Gravatar of Ambrose Ambrose
    21. May 2007 at 11:10

    You’ve made a good decision. The G7 is a fantastic camera. It’s not perfect for a P&S Noob, but for anyone with amibitions of improving their skills in photography, it’s the perfect have it on me all the time camera.

    moderator of he G7 Yahoo Group

  2. Gravatar of jay jay
    22. May 2007 at 13:02

    Check out this link:

    title says it all:

  3. Gravatar of Gareth Farrington Gareth Farrington
    23. May 2007 at 21:53

    I got the camera this evening and did some shooting with it indoors. My initial impression was total dismay, really. I just couldn’t believe that the noise was that bad. I had this pile of laundry on my bed with a dark blue shirt in the middle and the camera just turned it into an unintelligible blob. The noise is just pervasive and it can wreck a shot if your not careful. I did get some better results closer up and with more light. In short the auto mode is worse than my old S300, at least indoors. I obviously need to become a better photographer to get the most out of this camera in low light.

    The macro shots I took are simply outstanding. Worlds better than the S300. I’m really happy about that.

    The camera a is fast, focuses fast, boots fast, the menus are fast. Its very intuitive, I don’t really need the manual. Its got a good heft but some of the fit and finish is not as nice as I expected. The main dial his a nice tactile feel but the ISO dial feels cheap and is too easy to turn by accident. The ‘ring’ around the main D-pad menu buttons works great. Lots of things that were a pain to do with the S300 are easy to do with the G7. Reviewing the last shot takes one button press and depressing the shutter will take you back to shooting mode. Turning the flash on or off is also just two clicks.

    So its a mixed bag thus far. I’ll have a chance to take it outside and shoot some stills in bright light. Also I’ll have a chance to shoot some action shots and video.

  4. Gravatar of Roehl Tablada Roehl Tablada
    20. June 2007 at 05:12

    I got a G7 myself and I’m very happy with it. I have it with me at all times. My recent upgrade to my G7 is a lens adapter and soon some filters.

    Being a newbie, I wanted to start with a discreet and solidly built camera with full manual features. I wanted a camera that would grow with me as my interest in photography grows.

    There’s a lot of negative comments about the G7 out there that would make one doubt it. Luckily, I found this site:

    G7 is not perfect. For now it suits me just fine.

  5. Gravatar of Gareth Farrington Gareth Farrington
    20. June 2007 at 09:47

    I have taken some more photos and movies with it now.

    The noise is the thing that shocks me. Its pretty obvious once you have been shown what to look for. I think you need to come to grips with the fact that in a print it would be too small to see. When you scale down the photos to fit your monitor the scaling basically drowns out the noise. So the only time the noise is really bad is when you zoom in on a photo.

    I guess if you really need to zoom in or crop images, go for the DSLR.

    I’m not unhappy about getting the G7. It does lots of things well and makes a great point and shoot with manual controls when you need it.